Screen Shot 2021-04-27 at 9.07.18 AM.png

A Memorable day of Illuminate x Markham

Welcome! I am Anh Nguyen, the author of this blog post and also a Grade 9 student at Alexander Mackenzie High School. Today, I had the pleasure to attend Illuminate x Markham’s regional conference. Here are my thoughts highlighting what I learned about social entrepreneurship and the cyber risk management industry.


Keynotes speaker:

Christal Wang - As the speaker shares her journey from university to starting shimmer, there were many insights and information that I gained such as the importance of values. To be able to find what we like, we have to determine our values, what we find important and interesting to ourselves. In addition to that, I also learned that everything may not be the way we think it is and being flexible is necessary. We think that we are interested in a certain major, company, or even object, but we may no longer be when we actually experience This notion appeared to mind during Christ’s presentation when she told us about her journeys of going through different companies & organizations and trying out different things to find what she really links, such as RBC, L’OREAL, to BAIN, and eventually forming social entrepreneurship of shimmer. The key idea is that not everything is going to turn out the way we think it is so it is important to always be learning, exploring, take risks, and try out new things. In addition to that, I was also introduced to the idea of “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) and “Theory of Change” (TOCs) during the workshop session. The Sustainable Development Goals include the 17 interlinked global goals addressed by the United Nations General Assembly.






We then moved on to the Theory of Change where the method of thinking backward was shown. In this theory, we start from the main problem itself, then looking into the impacts we want to make on the problem, the outcomes that needed for these impacts, the outputs (usually numerics), the activities that need to be committed to lead to the outputs, and lastly, the inputs (resources) we have to put in. Later, it became exciting as we had an activity to apply this knowledge and methods we learned. Starting off by choosing a Sustainable Development Goal then we had to use the Theory of Change to draw out the problem.


Mashurf Chowdhury - During the second workshop session, we got the opportunity to learn about the cyber risk management industry with Mash Chowdhury. There were many useful insights given during the presentation such as how the industry is linked between business and technology, consulting language is not always necessary to understand the problem, and everything is a commitment. In addition to that, Mash also taught us the different aspects of his job including incident response, cyber maturity assessment, cyber strategy, and cyber awareness training. Incident responses are separated into 2 branches, proactive, where a company/business is being prepared to respond against cyber threats, and reactive, where a company/business is responding to the cyber threats. Additionally, cyber maturity assessment and strategy are to understand a company’s current security controls and program and suggest possible improvements. Lastly, cyber awareness training mainly is to encourage and train people against cyber threats. Furthermore, the steps in a project include the request of proposal (RFP), statement of work (SOW) which is a contract signed between the two countries in agreement of the proposal, prepare teams on both companies for the project, plan the project, carry out the plan, and lastly, celebrate the result. However, I have got to say, the most exciting part was the Kahoot game at the end to test our knowledge because I did a lot better than I thought, ending in 7th place.


Career Panel

In the career panel and Q+A with Joshua Liu, Alina Huang, and Mashruf Chowdhury, there were many insights and information I gained, specifically about public relationships and socialization. Like the panellist, Alina Huang, has said about how people choose to play with friends who look like them, such as having the same culture, hobbies, and/or preferences, I do so as well. However, as the panellist shared her experience, I got to understand how widening social relationships, making friends who are different from me, being curious and confident, and Mashurf Chowdhury - During the second workshop session, we got the opportunity to learn about the cyber risk management industry with Mash Chowdhury. There were many useful insights given during the presentation such as how the industry is linked between business and technology, consulting language is not always necessary to understand the problem, and everything is a commitment. In addition to that, Mash also taught us the different aspects of his job including incident response, cyber maturity assessment, cyber strategy, and cyber awareness training. Incident responses are separated into 2 branches, proactive, where a company/business is being prepared to respond against cyber threats, and reactive, where a company/business is responding to the cyber threats. Additionally, cyber maturity assessment and strategy are to understand a company’s current security controls and program, and suggest possible improvements. Lastly, cyber awareness training mainly is to encourage and train people against cyber threats. Furthermore, the steps in a project includes request of proposal (RFP), statement of work (SOW) which is a contract signed between the two countries in agreement of the proposal, prepare teams on both companies for the project, plan the project, carry out the plan, and lastly, celebrate the result. However, I have got to say, the most exciting part was the kahoot game at the end to test our knowledge because I did a lot better than I thought, ending at the 7th place.


Career Panel

In the career panel and Q+A with Joshua Liu, Alina Huang, and Mashruf Chowdhury, there were many insights and information I gained, specifically about public relationships and socialization. Like the panelist, Alina Huang, has said about how people choose to play with the friends who look like them, such as having the same culture, hobbies, and/or preferences, I do so as well. However, as the panelist shared her experience, I got to understand how widening social relationships, making friends who are different from me, being curious and confident, and exploring, are important. In addition to that, during Joshua Liu’s Q+A, he portrayed how having a groups of people you trust and can work together is crucial, similar to how his friends and him came up with the social entrepreneurship of SeamlessMD, a software platform used by healthcare systems to engage and stay connected with patients. Furthermore, I learned that pushing individuals to and past one’sboundaries is crucial for improvements in public speaking skill as Mashruf Chowdhury explained his scenario during the Q+A.


Future Career Goal and Personal Development - There were many things I gained aside from information about social entrepreneurship, cyber risk management, and just the business industry overall. This includes personal development as I worked with seniors from my school who helped improve my planning skill as they gave me many ways to plan and outline a project, which is applicable anytime in not only my school life, but also future career. In addition to that, my public speaking skill feels a lot stronger than before as I pushed myself to do things I never thought I would, such as turning my camera on and present. Not to mention, this conference and case study competition event is also beneficial for my future career goals and pathways in many ways, even as simple as the chance to encounter so many intelligent and amazing people.

Overall, the benefits I gained from attending Illuminate x Markham’s regional conference was indescribable as there were so many. Lastly, thank you to all of the regional leads, speakers, and my team members for the information, knowledge, and fun I gained throughout this event!